Everything You Need to Know About Properly Enjoying At White Rock Lake.
When most Dallasites think of White Rock Lake, the first things that generally come to mind are the loads of joggers and cyclists perpetually circling the 9.3 miles of hiking and biking trails that surround the lake.
That makes sense. In a town not necessarily known for bike-friendliness, White Rock very much lends itself to safe, scenic cycling. Runners love it, too: The annual Dallas Marathon, which takes places at the lake each December, is a top 10 marathon in the U.S. and serves as a Boston Marathon qualifier.
But White Rock Lake has plenty more to offer the community, too. And, after taking some of our advice, even the non-jogging/biking set among us should have no trouble finding excuses to head out to the lake this weekend.
Float Your Boat.
The city banned motorized boating on the lake in 1958, but that hasn't done much to thwart the Corinthian Sailing Club's enthusiasm for boating. Since 1939, the club has been promoting the sport in Dallas. These days, they offer youth and adult sailing lessons, in addition to hosting various races and lake cleanups.
Besides the Corinthian Sailing Club's small indoor/outdoor gazebo, which can be rented out for private events and parties, there are three other places around the lake that can be rented out for parties, weddings, picnics, funerals, family reunions or basically whatever the hell you have in mind.
• The Filter Building.
In addition to serving as the boathouse for several local rowing crews, The Filter Building, which overlooks the spillway on the southwest corner of the lake near Garland Road and Winsted Drive, is also available for rentals. With its exposed red brick and 1920s industrial look, the building itself boasts an almost literal boatload of historic charm, making it a nice setting for lakeside get-togethers.
• Winfrey Point.
In the 1940s, the government used the barracks at Winfrey Point to house German POWs captured during WWII. Today, the facilities, which are located just across the lake and a little ways north of the Filter Building, serve as one of the more popular wedding locations in town. For good reason, too: Sitting atop this spot's nice, big hill overlooking the lake, Winfrey Point's wraparound porch provides a fine setting for wistful lake-watching.
• Big Thicket Recreation Building.
Located on the Mockingbird Lane side of the lake, The Big Thicket is another building erected by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The big upside here is it costs about half as much to rent as Winfrey Point.
Do Some Good.
When you're ready to give back to the community — or just ready to fulfill some court-ordered requirements — there's plenty of charity work opportunities available at the lake. Local organization For the Love of the Lake sponsors regular cleanups around the lake, and every second Saturday, they host Shoreline Spruce Up. You can also help plant trees during their Trees Please events, too. For more opportunities visit their site.
The ever-popular Garland Fishing Pier and White Rock Creek spots are two of the many docks and piers around the lake good for catching channel catfish, largemouth bass and white crappie. A few quick tips: Largemouth bass are usually found in reed beds and mouths of creeks, and white crappies are mostly found in the spring at White Rock Creek. For a list of the lake's fishing regulations check this site.
Located on the east side of the lake, The Bath House Cultural Center holds a museum, gallery spaces and a theater within its confines. This Art Deco also boasts an outdoor theater, as well as about as much information on local bird species as you could possibly want to know.
Sure, there are tons of great reasons to head out to the lake. The best one, though? It's pretty much the perfect place to watch the sun set in Dallas. And, duh, it's even better when you take a date with you. Seriously: Just ask your parents, who used to refer to make-out sessions at White Rock as “watching the submarine races.” Anyway, there are tons of docks and other great spots from which to take it all in. Our favorites, though? Boy Scout Hill and the small patch of grass behind the Bath House Cultural Center.